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Stealing and Pillaging

If it could be stolen, the occupiers stole it: tools, equipment, food, even the honey from Perret's beehives. Things had gotten so desparate in Etobon that the Red Cross was evacuating the village's children to Switzerland. As Elisabeth Matthieu told me, if they could kill the parents, they could kill the children too.

Wednesday, November 1

Those pigs have stolen my honey!  The hives are lost.  They steal and pillage everywhere.  At the forge, they’ve taken most of my tools, the furnace tiles, the washer.  Not ours, who are, for the most part, very nice, as if they were selected for us.  There’s also a good one at my sister’s house, an adjutant who helps with the cooking and prays before meals. 

At Héricourt, twenty Poles, brought in by Regenbach, deserted and are hiding in the inner room of an old factory.  A German spy was with them.  They tried to send him off with a poison pill, but the dose was too weak.  So, they killed him with a shovel and buried him in a pile of manure.  War!  The real thing!

But that doesn’t stop the boches from thinking of their barrels and power distillery.  For whom?  Willy Imbey has come back on leave with candy for Philippe.  We’ll keep him inside today, at home.  After all the evil these people have done to us, are we too good or too stupid?

Here, now, in front of our house, the truck to take the children to the good country of Switzerland.  But we haven’t decided to send Philippe.  May God watch over them!

Friday, November 3

Karl rebuilt the roof of the shed with superb oak planks.  The roof done, he put several more up in the attic.  “Let me do it, Papa.  Planks good, very good.”

Willy Imbey and his comrades have discovered my hiding place in the woods.  They thought it was “a little house of terrorists.”  I explained to Willy what it was and asked him, with his comrades, to bring back my things.  “Not tell Kamarades.  They say you terrorist.  Me bring back stuff.”  He’d like to be a prisoner with us hiding him when his friends clear out.  “You think they’ll be leaving?”  “You soon free.”  “Why don’t we see more German airplanes?”  “Almost all, cemetery.  The others thirsty.  No more benzene to drink.  Us soon kaput.  Doesn’t matter to me.”

At Albert’s – their imminent defeat is silencing them – we find others, very likeable, the big Pole Evalt Bruce, especially Elmout, like a round-cheeked little girl, with a voice like a doll.  He thinks only of his mama:  “War over, go home to mama.”

The Americans must surely have a scout here.  The chief boche has changed the hours of soup duty for the front, because as soon as the wagons get to the woods, the bombardment begins, the horses bolt and are blown up by the mines.

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